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September 25, 2013

How much would the U.S. federal government need spend per household to even come close to balancing the annual U.S. federal budget?

The answer is presented in a single picture below:

U.S. Total Federal Government Spending per Household vs Median Household Income, 1967-2012

Comparing the relative location of the Zero Deficit Line on the chart, which is based on the overall trend of the U.S. federal government's total receipts with respect to median household income from 1967 through 2008 (before President Obama was sworn into office), with the level of spending done by the U.S. federal government in 2012, we find that the federal government would have to reduce its spending by $7,690 per U.S. household to even get anywhere close to a balanced budget.

To get a sense of how much money that really is, please consider that in 2012, there were 122,438,420 U.S. households.

Also keep in mind that the U.S. national debt will only continue to rise if the amount of federal government spending keeps falling on the wrong side of the Zero Deficit Line.


White House Office of Management and Budget. The Budget for Fiscal Year 2014, Historical Tables. Table 1.1. - Summary of Receipts, Outlays, and Surpluses or Deficits (-): 1789-2017. [PDF Document]. 10 April 2013.

U.S. Census. Current Population Survey. Historical Income Tables: Households. Table H-5. Race and Hispanic Origin of Householder - Households by Median and Mean Income. [Excel Spreadsheet]. 17 September 2013.

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